Patient escapes from Baton Rouge hospital, speeds off in stolen ambulance, leads police on chase _lowres

Christopher Porter

A patient broke out of a Baton Rouge behavioral hospital and hopped in an ambulance parked across the street Saturday morning, leading police on a chase down Interstate 110 before he eventually stopped on Scenic Highway.

Christopher Porter, 40, busted out the window in his room and escaped from the Baton Rouge Behavioral Hospital at 4040 North Blvd. about 10:30 a.m. Saturday, according to a Baton Rouge Police Department report. Porter then ran across the street to an Acadian Ambulance sitting outside Affinity Nursing and Rehabilitation Center, climbed inside and drove away, the report says.

The ambulance was unoccupied at the time and the engine was running, said police spokesman Sgt. Don Coppola Jr.

The medical crew had gone to the nursing home facility to pick someone up on a non-emergency call, said Acadian operations manager Justin Cox.

“When the crew came out, the ambulance was gone,” Cox said.

An Acadian dispatcher used geotracking software to provide police with turn-by-turn information on the ambulance’s location, Cox said. He said Porter turned the ambulance’s emergency lights on as he drove through intersections, then turned them off.

Police followed Porter as he drove onto I-110 North and eventually exited the interstate, stopping in the 5000 block of Scenic Highway, Coppola said.

Porter was apprehended and taken to the LSU Health Baton Rouge clinic to be treated for cuts he suffered while climbing out the broken hospital window, the report says.

Porter, 426 Sonnier Road, Carencro, was then transported to East Baton Rouge Parish Prison, where he was booked on counts of simple criminal damage to property, theft of a motor vehicle and flight from an officer. His bail information was not immediately available in online jail records.

“We’re still investigating to see exactly what all has happened,” Cox said.

Similar incidents have happened before, but “it’s not something that happens often,” he said.